Back Injuries After a Car Accident in Ocala, FL
Bill Allen | September 29, 2023 | Car Accidents
Car accidents are among the most common causes of back injuries in the United States. Even a minor car accident can cause severe damage. You may know immediately after a car accident that your back is injured. However, some injuries are not obvious right away.
It is important to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident to protect your health. You should also seek the advice of an experienced car accident attorney to protect your legal rights.
How Car Accidents Cause Lower Back Pain
Car accidents can cause a variety of injuries, including fatal ones. However, back injuries are among the most common consequences of vehicle crashes. The amount of damage to a vehicle does not necessarily correlate to the extent of damage to the vehicle’s occupants.
The passengers in a vehicle crash receive an incredible amount of force to their bodies during the accident. This is true whether your vehicle strikes another vehicle or a stationary object.
Even if you are restrained by a seatbelt or an airbag is deployed, the collision causes an extreme amount of force to be exerted against your body. This type of jerking of your body is sometimes referred to as whiplash. Whiplash can cause damage to your back and result in life-altering injury and pain.
The Structure of Your Lower Back
The spinal cord is made up of thirty-one pairs of nerves, which can be injured during a car accident, leading to nerve damage and even paralysis.
The lower part of your spine is known as the lumbar region and is made up of the five lowest vertebrae. Facet joints connect the bones of the spine. The lower back is also made up of tendons, ligaments, and muscles that protect your spinal cord and support your upper body.
Between each of your vertebrae are disks that cushion and absorb the pressure on your vertebrae. These disks have a soft, squishy inner filling.
Common Types of Car Accident Lower Back Injuries
There are numerous ways your back can be damaged during a car accident. Some of the most common types of lower back injuries include:
- Herniated disk: A herniated disk may also be called a slipped disk or ruptured disk. This happens when the disk’s jellylike center pushes through a tear in the rubbery outer casing. A herniated disk can cause pain, numbness, or weakness in your lower body.
- Lumbar sprain: A lumbar sprain occurs when the ligaments in the lower back are torn and can cause lower back pain that radiates to the buttocks, muscle spasms, and the inability to maintain a normal posture.
- Spinal stenosis: Spinal stenosis occurs when a herniated disk or a bone fragment enters the spinal canal. This can cause pressure on the nerves of the spinal cord, resulting in severe pain, trouble walking, and bowel or bladder problems.
- Facet joint injury: Facet joints connect the bones of the spine. Nerve roots pass through the facet joints and lead to the arms, legs, and other areas of the body. When a facet joint swells from an injury, it can cause terrible pain in the lower back, buttocks, and thighs.
These are a few of the most common types of back injuries caused by a car accident. Back injuries can have a tremendous long-term impact on your quality of life. If you are involved in a car accident, you should get checked out by a doctor to protect your health.
How Back Injuries Are Diagnosed
The symptoms of a herniated disk, lumbar sprain, spinal stenosis, facet joint injury, and other back injuries are often very similar. It can be difficult to determine what is causing your back pain.
Thankfully, doctors now have a wide array of tools to diagnose the cause of your back pain. Some of the most commonly used diagnostic tools for diagnosing back injuries include:
- X-rays: Most of us have had an X-ray taken at some point in our lives. However, an X-ray is only helpful for showing the bony structures of the back. It is not useful for seeing damage to the soft tissue and disks.
- CT scans: This scan is used to view the soft tissue and can help diagnose herniated disks and spinal stenosis.
- Discography: If the doctor is unable to determine the cause of your pain from the x-ray and CT scan, they can perform a discography by injecting dyes into the area while performing a CT scan. This provides a better contrast and a higher-resolution image of the injured area.
- MRI: An MRI creates a 3D image of the bones and soft tissue and can help determine where your back is injured.
Doctors can usually find the cause of your lower back pain by using one or more of these diagnostic tools. A proper diagnosis of your injury is essential to determine the type of treatment you need and to protect your car accident personal injury claim.
Back Pain Classifications
Back pain is classified into three general categories depending on how long the pain lasts. Acute back pain is pain that is sudden and lasts a month or less. Back pain lasting from one to three months is usually classified as subacute. Any back pain that lasts longer than three months is considered chronic.
Car accidents often cause injuries that result in chronic back pain that negatively impacts a person’s quality of life for years. An experienced Florida car accident attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve and need.
Treatments for Back Pain Injuries
The type of treatment recommended for car accident back injuries depends on the type and classification of your pain. For acute back pain, doctors usually recommend hot and cold packs, stretching, physical therapy, and over-the-counter medications.
Due to the opioid epidemic in the United States, many physicians are reluctant to prescribe opioids such as OxyContin or morphine for back injuries. Doctors often prescribe anti-inflammatory and muscle-relaxing medications.
For some back injuries, doctors will inject anesthetics, steroids, or Botox into the injured area to relieve pain. Epidural steroid injections can provide powerful short-term pain relief.
Others suffering from back injuries have found relief from chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, biofeedback, and yoga.
Surgery is considered a last resort treatment for back injuries. It is generally only an option when the back pain is chronic and has a debilitating impact on a person’s quality of life.
There are several types of back surgery for chronic lower back pain. A discectomy removes the herniated portion of the disk to relieve stress on a nerve. A laminectomy removes a bone fragment that has entered the spinal canal. A spinal fusion connects two or more bones in the spine to provide stability and relieve pain.
What To Do if You Suffered a Back Injury After a Car Accident in Ocala, FL
Even a minor car accident can cause serious back injuries that can lead to lifelong pain and disability. Back injuries can have a negative impact on your quality of life and your ability to care for yourself and your family.
It is important that you get medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. You should also contact an experienced Ocala, FL, car accident attorney to protect your rights to recover compensation for your damages.
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